(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
Early this week two Trumps were on display. On Monday Trump read a prepared text from the teleprompter, meant to express compassion with the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The problem with that format is that Trump’s voice becomes flat and without any emotion, next to the fact that his voice is so tainted by the vulgarities he has produced over time that it is hardly a believable vehicle for genuine sorrow. On Tuesday Trump visited Puerto Rico and made spontaneous remarks, which brought some color back in his voice, but on those occasions what he says usually ranges from nasty to insane. In an attempt to be humorous he blamed the Puerto Ricans for ‘throwing the United States’ budget a little out of whack’ with their need for financial support in the wake of hurricane Maria, and more seriously compared the number of certified deaths in Puerto Rico, sixteen, with the ‘hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of deaths’ from a ‘real catastrophe’ like Katrina. At the time large parts of Puerto Rico had not yet been reached by FEMA or other agencies, so the death toll was totally premature and certain to rise.
Trump made those gaffes in a meeting where the participants were expected to praise the federal aid efforts and Trump’s role in particular, giving Trump the opportunity to exhibit his usual self-congratulatory pompousness. Meeting with a few victims who had lost everything they owned Trump advised them ‘to have a good time,’ and he ended his visit by throwing paper towels into a crowd – something nobody on Puerto Rico had asked for – before he left an hour ahead of schedule because he had run out of empathy. On Wednesday, while Trump visited Las Vegas without any noticeable incidents, in Washington all hell broke loose because of a report that Rex Tillerson had called Trump a ‘fucking moron.’ The Secretary of State gave a highly unusual press conference in which he expressed his devotion to Trump, but failed to deny having used those terms. From Las Vegas Trump declared that he was ‘honored’ by Tillerson’s remarks, but according to White House sources he was livid. Even John Kelly won’t be able to patch up the relationship between Trump and Tillerson, but to avoid total chaos the latter will stay on for a while.
To make things worse, Senator Bob Corker, who has announced that he won’t run for re-election, said that Defense Secretary Mattis’s, Kelly’s and Tillerson’s presence in the administration is the only hope to keep US foreign policy sane, a direct hit on Trump, who had already undermined Tillerson’s attempt to open a diplomatic channel with North Korea and was about to decertify the Iran nuclear agreement, about which Mattis had said that it was in the US national interest.
Intensifying his ongoing war with the press, on Thursday Trump tweeted that Congress should investigate the media’s ‘fake news’ production, basically asking for a violation of the first amendment. The tweet was probably inspired by news reports about Ivanka’s and Don Jr.’s fraudulent business practices in New York and Ivanka’s and Jared’s continuing use of private email accounts and servers.
What worries Trump the most, however, are the investigations into the connections between his campaign and Russia. Yesterday it was revealed that Robert Mueller has interviewed former British spy Christopher Steele, who put a damning dossier together that gives Trump every reason to be scared.
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